'Man of Steel' trailer deep dive: Rebuilding Superman with fear and trembling

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The trailer jumps away from drifting Clark to a slightly less lost, slightly more focused Clark. This is because he’s made a discovery, in some snowy, icebound region — the kind of Arctic wasteland where one might build a Fortress of Solitude. Cavill — now rocking a trimmer beard and clean white threads — utters his first words in the trailer: “I have so many questions. Where do I come from?” And we see him holding a small black object like a flash drive, Superman’s iconic S shield stamped on the cap.

From here, the trailer jumps again. Clark has made a colorful transformation. He’s wearing red boots. He’s walking across arctic tundra. His flowing red cape dancing in the breeze, not quite grazing the ice. We see his face. No beard. Strong jaw. He looks toward the sun — then closes his eyes. We’re not sure how we feel about him. We’re not sure if he knows how to feels about himself, but we get the sense he’s about to make a choice. Voiceover from Kevin Costner spells it out. “You just have to decide what kind of man you want to be when you grow up Clark. Whoever that man is? He’s going to change the world.”

Clark kneels like a sprinter in a starting block, but instead of finger tips flexed to ground, it’s a rock hard fist that plants him to Earth. Is he drawing power out of the planet in order to do what he’s about to do next? That’s the implication. The turf begins to rumble and the music begins to swell with triumph… or tremble with fear. It’s hard to tell.

And with that, Clark, surging with newfound power and identity, launches like a rocket, cracking the Earth in the process. He soars into the sky. Through the clouds. Into orbit, and back down to Earth. We see only a hint of his costume as he passes. It feels more like a shadow shooting by than anything else. Very (morally) ambiguous.

What has Clark become? What kind of super-man has this lonely, cut-off, scared-of-the-world man-child chosen to be? Should we be thrilled… or terrified?

NEXT: Superman: Savior or Destroyer?

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